Small businesses fail for various reasons, but digital failure is rising. Shockingly, almost half of all new small businesses will probably shut their virtual doors in the next few years. And while you may think that an online business could never fail, it’s actually more common than you think. In fact, one study found that over 40% of small businesses operating solely online shut down after two years or less. Why? Because many underestimated the difficulty and time commitment that comes with running an online business. If you’re thinking about opening a small business — whether as an independent consultant or as part of a larger company — here are seven reasons why they fail so often and some suggestions on how to avoid the same fate:
Talent shortage and skill mismatch
Many businesses fail because the owners lack the skills and talent necessary to run a successful business. In many cases, small business owners may not possess the in-depth knowledge of their industry to stand out from the competition. They risk going out of business if they don’t understand what customers want and how to deliver it. People who run online businesses often don’t have the marketing or technical skills necessary to succeed. As an entrepreneur, you may excel at specific tasks, such as content marketing and customer support. But you may lack the expertise to build a website or write computer code for an app. If you’re not skilled in these areas, it’s best to outsource them to people who are.
Confusion over target audience and value proposition
Another problem that many online businesses face is a misalignment between the target audience and the business’s value proposition. For example, let’s say you create a website that sells dog grooming products. After launching your business, you discover that most of your customers are senior citizens with little to no interest in dog grooming products. You risk going out of business if you don’t have the right customers coming through your virtual door. To help you avoid this kind of misalignment, you should thoroughly research your target audience and create a value proposition that resonates with them. To help you better understand your audience, conduct surveys and focus groups. You can also conduct in-depth interviews to understand your customers’ pain points better. Once you have this information, you can create a value proposition that appeals to your target audience.
Lack of a growth strategy and measurement process
Another problem that many online businesses face is a lack of growth strategy and measurement process. To succeed as an online entrepreneur, you need to grow your business. Growth is key to establishing yourself as a brand and increasing your revenue. Unfortunately, many online entrepreneurs don’t have a clear plan for growing their businesses. If you want your online business to succeed, you need a proven strategy for attracting new customers and increasing revenue. If you don’t have a growth strategy, you won’t know what’s working and what isn’t. This could lead to a lack of consistency in your marketing efforts and overall business growth. And when your business fails to grow, you’ll likely close your doors sooner rather than later.
Shifting market conditions
When a small business fails, the reasons for this failure often can be traced back to market conditions. For example, if your company relies heavily on customers with a high disposable income, you could find yourself struggling to stay afloat during a recession. This is because customers with a high disposable income are often the first to cut back when the economy is downturned. If the market conditions in your industry change, your business could run into trouble. If you notice a significant shift in your industry’s market conditions, it may be time to re-evaluate your business model. Sign up for an economic news subscription to help you stay ahead of shifting market conditions. This will help you track shifting market conditions and stay one step ahead of trouble.
Poor website user experience (UX) and user interface (UI)
Another common reason for online business failure is a poor user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). To succeed, your website needs to be easy to use and visually appealing. Customers who have a poor experience on your site are unlikely to return.
To help ensure that your customers have a positive experience, follow these three guidelines: –
Offer value from the start –
Your site’s homepage should deliver value as soon as customers arrive. Your business will fail if your homepage is full of advertisements and pop-ups. –
Keep it simple –
Customers don’t want to be confused by your website. If your website is overly complicated, customers will quickly jump ship.
Offer a clear path to conversion –
Customers should know exactly what they need to do to make a purchase. If they are left scratching their heads, they’ll be gone before you know it.
Ineffective marketing strategies
Many businesses that fail do so because they aren’t able to attract new customers. If your marketing campaign is ineffective, you may struggle to bring in new clients. To help you avoid this common pitfall, focus your marketing efforts on a single niche. If you try to appeal to everyone, you may end up appealing to no one. When marketing your business online, use proven strategies that have been shown to work. For example, blogging effectively builds an audience and drives targeted traffic to your website. But it would help if you ensured that your blogging efforts are effective. One effective blogging strategy is regularly publishing blog posts around 1,500 words long. By following proven blogging strategies, you can increase the likelihood of your posts going viral.
You Need Patience and Persistence
Starting a new business makes it easy to become impatient with your progress. You want your business to be a success, so you want to see quick results. Unfortunately, marketing campaigns don’t happen overnight. It can take months — even years — before you start seeing a significant investment return. And during this time, it’s easy to become impatient and throw in the towel. If you want your business to succeed, you need to remain persistent. You can’t expect to see results overnight. It takes time to build your brand and attract new customers. To help augment your efforts, use these tips to stay persistent: — Be patient — It takes time to establish your brand and grow your business. Be patient as you work toward your goals. — Stay consistent — As we mentioned above, consistency is key. If you only market your business once in a while, you likely won’t see results.
Success rarely comes easy, especially when you’re building a business from scratch. If you’re considering starting a small business, you must be prepared for an uphill battle. You’ll face challenges, frustrations, and plenty of ups and downs. Fortunately, many of these problems can be avoided. Keeping these seven common reasons for failure top of mind, you’re much more likely to succeed.